“CAN YOU FIND WHAT WE DID?” – ANSWER SHEET
The US Greenbuilding Council has a rating system for green buildings called LEED. Many of you are familiar with this, or may be experts. We suggest that you organize your answers according to the five LEED categories, and we organized our hints that way.
All the outdoor changes are in four parts of the site; we have labelled them with sunflower markers identifying the project change areas; we have also identified the project areas inside the house with sunflowers and have put signs to close off areas which are private. Please walk only in the areas identified as project areas — thanks!
SUSTAINABLE SITES (two points, outdoors)
1. We saved some plants which otherwise would have been destroyed. We think you can identify them.
A. Three azaleas, front yard (the pruned ones)
2. Merritt redesigned one area to avoid erosion and make part of the site usable by a very active Matthias. This is an easy point! Which area?
A. Front yard where the new grass is growing, down to the sidewalk (with cobble outlines)
WATER AND STORMWATER (four points, outdoors)
3. Another easy point: our version of downspout interruption. There are two of them.
A. Rainbarrels (whiskey barrels) in line with the AC units
4. So you think this is too easy so far? Find the invisible stormwater management technique. For full credit on this point, tell us what we did with the water? Ha!
A. We hand dug a new drain under the stepping stones near the rainbarrels. Harder to spot is the outlet, which is in the top of the vegetated bank leading to the street. There’s a stone waterbreak there, hidden in the shrubbery but visible to your keen eye. Most of the water never reaches the street.
5. It’s stone, it’s handsome, it helps decrease stormwater. Where is it and how does it help?
A. Cobblestone parking pad (instead of concrete). The cobbles are salvaged, but more important, they are set in stone dust and are therefore permeable. Water landing on this area soaks in.
6. Do admire the disappearing fountains on the patio, made from leftover materials from our other stonework. (Free point)
ENERGY (two points)
7. We did not change the heating and cooling systems. We did make them more accessible. What piece of furniture/woodwork can be removed to service the HVAC element it hides? (Can be discovered without dismantling furniture!)
A. There are two, actually, but one is hidden. We created a removable wall panel in the closet behind the third floor bath so service people could reach the unit. The example we hope you’ll find, however, is the orange window seat on the third floor which covers a major AC duct and can be removed for access.
8. Insulating a historic home is difficult but we took the obvious first step. For the full point, what type of insulation did we use and where did we put it? Since you can’t see it, we thought we should leave you a good clue, which we did.
A. The attic, the easiest place to warm up in many homes. We used Bonded Logic recycled blue jean insulation. “Blue jeans — attic” or any variation gets you this point. We have discovered natural wool insulation (Oregon Shepherd) for attics, by the way, and will probably be installing some of that in this home in the future.
MATERIALS AND RESOURCES (eight points)
9. Can you find where we used milk paint from BioShield?
A. The new doors in the second floor bath were custom made and finished with milk paint (and some other things). They are the only change in this room; the milk paint tone and color picks up the floor and unifies the room.
10. And the recycled resin panels from 3Form?
A. The vanity door panels, first floor, in cranberry from 3Form’s Reclaim line.
11. And .. the Marmoleum flooring from Forbo (made from linseed)?
A. You got this one, of course .. the floor in the third floor bath.
12. In the 1990s, Bernie Severe was renowned as an expert in wood floors. He worked with Polly Bart doing renovations in Mt. Vernon; his son carries on the tradition and did one of the floors in this house which is a good example of saving resources. For full credit, where is it and what is it that we saved and used?
A. The third floor room with the sunflower on the floor. For full credit, you explained that we kept the subfloor, usually covered with hardwood or carpet. It’s old wood and therefore good quality, but rustic. That was the look Merritt wanted, reminiscent of her grandmother’s stool which is now in the room.
Please note several other examples of retaining but changing what was in the house: the tub on the third floor became a shower with the addition of European style glass panel, the third floor guest room was previously panelled (like the hall) and got a new look by removing the raised wood strips and laminating with new drywall.
Now that you’ve seen two examples of small resource use for a big change in appearance, here are three for points:
13. What did we do in the first floor powder room? (for full credit, name only the things we changed)
A. You’re probably noticing a theme here: we did just two things and friends think the bath was totally redone. The doors are custom built around the resin panels, and we added the sunflower door bumper, which was the inspiration of Patti Boyle, one of your hosts tonight and the creator of a lovely line of resin jewelry.
14. Many Mt. Washington homes have a configuration like what you see in the family room — but we made one change which we think fits in, but makes the space more usable for our needs today. What was that one change?
A. The entertainment center is a two layer piece added to the built in window seat, allowing the room to be used for TV and movie viewing without losing the charm of the historic woodwork.
15. – 16. For a possible two points, what did we change in the living room? Hint: compare with dining room, which was untouched. For full credit, name only what we changed. We think you can do it! This is a tie-breaker point!
A. We are very interested to see whether anyone gets all of this without adding things we did not change. 1) The dining room ceiling shows a pattern; the same pattern in the living room was eliminated by laminating over the ceiling with thin drywall. 2) The room was elegant but the proportions made the ceiling height look low. We added a coffered beam — just a single beam 18” from the edge and adjusted the crown molding to compensate. 3) to accentuate the effect, we used a darker color outside of that beam to make the center area “pop” up and 4) you probably guessed new lighting, and you are right; the recessed lighting and the central fixture are new. In addition, French doors which provide daylighting were added to separate the family room from the more formal living room. We will give you credit for the doors if you listed them elsewhere.
INDOOR AIR QUALITY/ HEALTH AND SAFETY (four points)
17. We used a natural material which absorbs moisture when humidity is high, and releases it when conditions are dry. What is the material, and where did you find it? (please answer both parts for full credit)
A. Clay plaster, in the third floor bath. It has a wonderful texture, which varies according to who applies the plaster. Clay plaster can be applied directly to drywall (with a sanded primer) as we did here.
18. We also used a device which can ventilate a whole house if you use three of them. There is one you can see in the areas open to visitors; what is it called and what does it do? (Hint: it’s not very big!)
A. A humidistat in the third floor bath (there’s also one in the master bath, which was not open). This causes the bath fan to come on automatically when the humidity is higher than the level set by the homeowner.
19. Of course, we used “green” paint. Where else did we use a coating product which does not off-gas?
A. Two possible answers: the vanity doors, and the wood floor (third floor). We use AFM Safecoat or BioShield finishes for wood. No polyurethane, no terrible smell!
20. Lead paint was considered the highest quality when introduced, so of course it appears in fine historic houses. Where in this house did we focus our efforts at removal, and what did we do? (Keen eyes and common sense will get you this point but please answer both parts for full credit).
A. Matthias’ room, of course. We removed and replaced all the trim in this room. It matches fairly well, but is stock trim, not custom milled (which would have been extremely expensive). We retained the historic doors which were removed from the site, stripped, and reinstalled. If you named the trim, but not the door stripping, we will give full credit.